Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 172--180

A survey of medical professionals in an apex tertiary care hospital to assess awareness, interest, practices, and knowledge in palliative care: A descriptive cross-sectional study

1 Department of Onco-Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine, Dr. BRA Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, AIIMS, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Surgical Oncology, Dr. BRA Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar
Room No. 242, Dr. BRA Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, AIIMS, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_191_18

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Background: Medical discipline in India focuses on cure rather than comfort care. Palliative care is concerned with improving quality of life and relieving sufferings in patients with advanced incurable terminal diseases. Palliative care in India is still in infancy stage due to lack of knowledge, attitude and skills among health care providers. The reason being lack of training in under graduate as well as postgraduate teaching curriculum and lack of sensitization among policy makers. Aims and Objectives: To assess the awareness, interest, practices and knowledge in palliative care among medical professionals working in a tertiary care hospital. Materials and Methods: All participants were mailed proforma to be filled in a fixed format including details of their qualification, demographic data, their field of work, their training in palliative care and multiple choice questions regarding awareness interest, practices and knowledge of palliative care. Results: Out of 186 respondents, 56% had not received any basic training in palliative care. 81% wanted palliative care education to be included in undergraduate curriculum. Poor program was identified as the most common barrier in learning palliative care. 77% respondents had no idea about home based palliative care services. 50.8% patients dies in hospital in their terminal stage. 88% were interested in learning safe opioid practices. Although 89.8% were aware of the need of palliative care in metastatic cancer but less than 50% were aware of the fact that palliative care is also required in MDR-TB and mental illness. Conclusion: This study reflects data of an apex cancer institute of the country. The result of awareness is not very encouraging despite a dedicated palliative care department. So, we can assume what will be the palliative care status in other parts of India where there is no palliative care at all. Recommendation: We strongly recommends that palliative care teaching should be incorporated in undergraduate curriculum to sensitize the students from the beginning. Budding residents in their learning phase can play an important role by learning and providing palliative care as the first person to come into contact with the patients are residents. There is a strong need of spreading palliative care awareness all over the country.


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